Geerken studied orientalism, philosophy, German studies and comparative religion in Tübingen and Istanbul, and produced a dissertation on Hellmut Ritter. He gave German language courses in Turkey for the first Turkish guest workers planning to go to Germany. As an employee at the Goethe Institute, he lived in Cairo from 1966–1972, in Kabul from 1972–1979, and in Athens from 1979–1983. Since then he has lived in Herrsching am Ammersee.
Geerken is as artist and arts organizer. As a percussionist, he has collaborated with a variety of free jazz musicians such as Sun Ra, John Tchicai, Sainkho Namtchylak. As a poet, he is a practitioner of concrete poetry and organizes events such as the annual Bielefeld New Poetry Colloquium. As an actor, he appeared in six films by Herbert Achternbusch and appeared in two of Achternbusch's plays at the Munich Kammerspiele. From 1991–1992, he held the Chair of Poetics at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen.
Geerken was also dedicated to the memory of the German literati Anselm Ruest. When he was on the trail of the estate of Victor Hadwiger, Geerken investigated an uninhabited house in southern France, where he instead found parts of the estate of Ruest, who had died in 1943. Ruest was, along with Mynona, editor of the Stirnerite journal Der Einzige, which was published in a small edition from 1919–1925. From the funds of the estate, Geerken found it was possible to reprint a complete set of Der Einzige, which was published in 1980.
In 1979, while Geerken was living in Afghanistan, Geerken made a study of the ethnomycology of the areas of Afghanistan in which he traveled, co-authoring two papers on the topic. In the second paper, he states that he had discovered a tradition of recreational use of the Amanita muscaria use among the Parachi-speaking people of the Shutul Valley.
Munich Literature Year (1984), Schubart Literary Prize (1986), Karl Sczuka Prize for Works of Radio Art: "südwärts, südwärts" (BR 1989) and "hexenring" (BR 1994).
- Book publications include "murmel gedichte" (1965), "verschiebungen" (1972), "sprünge nach rosa hin" (1981), "poststempel jerusalem" (1993), "kant" (1998), "ogygia: vom ende des südens" (2004), "phos" (2005), "forschungen etc.'" (2006), "klafti" (2007), "kyrill" (2007), "soyd" (2008), "moos" (2008).
- Co-editor of the series "Frühe Texte der Moderne". Editor of the works of Salomo Friedlaender, of various articles from expressionists, dadaists, and anarchists from the first half of the 20th Century, and the German biographer of Sun Ra.
- Compositions, installations, albums, films, and radio plays.
- Hartmut Geerken: Bio, HartmutGeerken.de. (German)
- Mochtar, S. G.; Geerken, H.; Werner. P. G. (trans) (1979). "The Hallucinogens Muscarine and Ibotenic Acid in the Middle Hindu Kush: A contribution on traditional medicinal mycology in Afghanistan". Afghanistan Journal (in German) 6. pp. 62–65. Retrieved 2009-02-27.
- Official website
- Hartmut Geerken at Kunstradio.at
- Jungle World
- Hartmut Geerken in the German National Library catalogue
- Hartmut Geerken at the Internet Movie Database